Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 3rd December 2011 + Vids & Pictures of Methody v Campbell scores + interviews + pictures of Ballymena Academy, Belfast High School, Regent & Grosvenor

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Northern Bank Ulster Schools’ Round Up Saturday 3rd December 2011.

The Rainey Endowed School 1st and 2nd xv’s have returned recently from a successful tour, playing games in Dublin and Manchester.

On Wednesday 23rd November the ‘P Keenan Road Surfacing’ sponsored Rainey Endowed School Senior Rugby squads left on their annual rugby tour. They left school early in the morning as they were playing their first game of the tour in Dublin against De la Salle, Churchtown. This was anticipated to be a difficult game, as De la Salle had twice won the Leinster Schools Cup in a three year spell in the 1980’s. After a long bus journey, the Rainey 1st XV, still missing quite a few regulars through injury, started brightly and made De la Salle defend for long periods. This pressure was soon rewarded with an Oisin Quinn try. Martin Connolly converted to give Rainey a 7-0 lead. The visitors continued to dominate and after good work from Jonathan Lees, Jack McCalmont drove over for a second try. Martin Connolly converted to increase Rainey’s lead to 14-0. With the Rainey pack on top half time gave the home side a chance to regroup. The second half started with Rainey back on the offensive. However, many good scoring opportunities were squandered by poor decision making. De la Salle seemed to gain some confidence from this and, in a short time, scored 10 points with a penalty as well as a try and conversion. With the score now reduced to 14-10, and entering the final quarter, it was anybody’s game. Rainey, however, to their credit regrouped and under the leadership of their captain, Thomas Booth, overcame the set back. They continued to play attacking rugby and the backline worked a super move to put Chris Moffett over for their third try. Martin Connolly converted to leave the score 21-10. Rainey finished the game on top and won a game they thoroughly deserved, although they have to be careful not to let complacency enable opponents to get back into games. The 2nd XV also defeated De la Salle, Churchtown, scoring seven tries in the process. The try scorers were Odhran McCloy (2), Barry Wilkinson (2), John Stewart, captain Matthew Mc Nabb and Gavin Pollock. Gavin Pollock also kicked 1 conversion to give them a 37-7 victory. This game was unfortunately marred by the serious leg injury to Stephen Fullerton. Stephen was playing his first game on return from a broken hand but, unfortunately for both Stephen and the squad, he now faces a further long lay-off. Everyone at Rainey rugby wishes Stephen well for a full ansd speedy recovery.
The squad then sailed the next morning to Holyhead from where they transferred to Manchester for the remainder of the tour. After some light training on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning they went on a guided tour of Old Trafford and the well- stocked Trophy Room. After this the entire squad went to Edgeley Park to watch Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs play in the Aviva Premiership. On Saturday morning they played their second school on tour, Altincham Grammar School. The 1st XV played out a really exciting game, which was end to end. It was interesting to compare the two different styles of play, with the hosts keen to ruck and Rainey trying to off load at every opportunity. Rainey eventually came out on top with a 33-22 win. Try scorers were Jack McCalmont, Gary Monaghan, Oisin Quinn, Chris Moffett and Jamie Noble. Marin Connolly kicked four conversions. The 2nd XV were unfortunately defeated 19-0. After the game the squad travelled to the Reebok Stadium to watch Bolton play Everton in the Barclay’s Premiership. Many tired boys and members of staff returned home the following day. Thanks are due to everyone who accompanied the squad on tour and in particular Mr Simpson for his organisation. Thanks are also to De la Salle, Churchtown and Altrincham Grammar School for their hosting of the games as well their superb hospitality.

Friends’ School Senior Rugby squads headed to Scotland for a two match tour which was slightly disrupted due to difficult weather conditions.

The 1stxv played Morrison’s Academy in their opening game and started the game strongly through their domination of the set pieces. Peter Ferguson broke through the Morrison’s defensive line and was hauled down just short of the white wash. From the resultant ruck the home team was penalised but unfortunately for the Friends’ team the penalty kick was missed. The Friends’ team attacked at every opportunity but the Morrison’s defence was up to the task and game remained scoreless until halftime. Several minutes into the second half, the Friends’ team was awarded another penalty in front of the posts. This time, Ross Robinson successfully converted the kick to give his team a 3-0 lead. The Morrison’s side responded well and scored a try some six minutes later. They missed the conversion but had a 5-3 lead. After some good work from the Friends’ backline, they were awarded a penalty on the Morrison’s 5 metre line. The penalty was taken quickly and prop Hayden Walsh crashed over for a well taken try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Lisburn team now had an 8-5 lead. The Friends’ School team seemed to be holding out well defensively from a late rally by the Morrison’s team only to see a defensive slip allow the opposition full back the space to run in for an unconverted try. This score denied the Friends’ School 1stxv a deserved victory losing out by 10-8.

Due to a number of injuries Cameron McClements joined Nicholas Parker in a half back partnership that went on to control the game. From the start of the game the forwards started to dominate proceedings with effective line breaking runs from the back row of Scott Colligan, Ryan Armstrong and Andrew Spence. With Andrew Wallace and Andrew Scott securing ball at ruck time, Nicholas Parker was able dictate proceedings from scrum half. Andrew Spence crashed over for a try which Nicholas converted to give his team a 7-0 lead. The lineouts worked well with Stewart Gavin and David Bailie using their strength to operate driving mauls up the pitch. Friends’ centre, Jason Hassard, took advantage of ball released from a driven maul to run in for a try. Nicholas Parker was successful with his conversion attempt to put the Friends’ team into a 14-0 lead. The Friends’ pack was now controlling the game and the team managed to score three more first half tries through Stuart Campbell, Scott Colligan and Michael Munroe to give them a 29-0 halftime lead. The Friends’ 2ndxv scored three further tries in the second half with Cameron McClements, Caolan Harkin and Jason Hassard all touching down. The game ended with a morale boosting 46-0 victory for the Friends’ School team. With the second of the tour games lost to adverse weather conditions the Friends’ teams were redirected to Dumfries Rugby Club for a game against the local club U18 team. This was organised by former Friends’ School pupil, Colin “Doc” McKelvey who is now a Senior Rugby Development Officer with the Scottish Rugby Union. It was agreed to play 4 x 20 minute sessions and involve all members of the tour party thereby ensuring that fringe players such as Nicholas Parker, Cameron McClements, Dylan Lewis and Caolan Harkin had the opportunity to experience life with their 1stxv colleagues. The Friends’ players enjoyed the experience despite losing the games by five tries to two. Thanks are due to the Friends’ coaches, Mr Robinson, Mr Gamble and Mr Monaghan for organising the tour. The players were well received by Morrison’s Academy, Creiff Academy and Dumfries Rugby Club and are grateful to these organisations for their hospitality and provision of games. A special word of thanks to Colin McKelvey of the SRU for assisting in the organisation of the tour.

Regent House hosted Belfast High School at the Circular Road venue on Saturday 3rd December.
CLICK HERE FOR 149 Pictures! Courtesy of Gary Benson
The Belfast High School team took an early lead when their left winger ran in for an unconverted try after ten minutes play. The try was not converted but the visitors had a 5-0 lead. Five minutes later the Regent team drew level when their scrum half, Gary Wright, scored an unconverted try. The Regent team started to control both territory and possession and took the lead on twenty five minutes when their right winger, Jonny Carmichael, took advantage of a clever cross field kick to touch down for an unconverted try. Just before the interval Jamie McKnight ran in for a try which Nathan Burns converted to give his team a 17-5 halftime lead. On forty five minutes Gary Wright ran in for his second try of the game. Nathan Burns converted the try to extend the Regent lead to 24-5. This became 29-5 when the Regent House centre, Peter Eakin burst through for an unconverted try on fifty five minutes. Five minutes later Oisin McClelland scored a try which Nathan Burns converted to extend the Regent House lead to 36-5. However, the Belfast High School team was not for giving up and got some reward for their endeavours when they scored a converted try five minutes from time and reduce the arrears to 36-12. The home team had the final say in this entertaining game when Chris McCartney scored a try with just seconds remaining. Nathan Burns added the conversion to see his team through to a 43-12 victory.

Ballymena Academy travelled to Belfast to take on Grosvenor Grammar,

a team who are emerging as one of the surprise packages this season. The early exchanges were closely contested and it was the home team who opened the scoring when their abrasive pack powered over after ten minutes and enable Matthew Allen to claim the try. The conversion was missed but the Grosvenor Grammar School team had a 5-0 lead. Ballymena replied immediately when Nicholas Stirling was on hand to finish a well-executed passage of play. Darren Geddis hit a touchline touchline conversion to take the score 7-5. Mid-way through the first half Ballymena created space on the right-hand side and Jordan Foster showed great footwork to touch down for a try. Darren Geddis again added the extras from the touchline and his kick marked the end of the scoring in the first half with the scoreboard reading 14-5 in favour of the visitors. Grosvenor started the second half very strongly and enjoyed a sustained period of pressure in the Ballymena half. However, it was the Ballymena Academy team who increased their lead further when Nicholas Stirling broke through a tackle and raced 80 metres for an excellent finish. Once again, Darren Geddis made no mistake with his conversion to increase the Ballymena lead to 21-5. Shortly afterwards, Ballymena stretched further into the lead when Jack Fleming linked with Thomas Gaston who finished in the corner. The conversion was missed but the Ballymena Academy team had a 26-5 lead. The last score of the game came when, to their credit, Grosvenor showed tremendous spirit and fought back to finish the game on top with centre, Paul Kennedy, going over after a spell of pressure from the abrasive home pack. A neat slip pass from captain, Stuart Smyth, put Paul through to score under the Ballymena Academy posts. Peter Davison converted to complete the scoring in the game which ended with the Ballymena Academy team winning by 26-12.

Following their fine win against Belvedere College last weekend, the Royal Belfast Academical Institution team travelled to Dublin to play Terenure College, another of the top schools’ teams in Leinster.

Belfast Inst played against the wind in the first half and were pinned back by some fine tactical kicking by the Terenure out half. Terenure opened the scoring with a fine try after their pack set up good ball following a succession of rucks and mauls. The try was converted to give the Terenure College team a 7-0 lead. Terenure College then had a penalty after a number of Belfast Inst were caught offside at a ruck. The kick was successful and put the Ternure College team into a 10-0 lead. Inst started to come back into the game and, after a fine break from flanker Andrew Roulston, Gareth Lawlor ran in to score an unconverted try. Belfast Inst continued to pile on the pressure and just on the stroke of half time Gareth Lawlor kicked a penalty to reduce the arrears to 10-8 in favour of the Terenure team. The Royal Belfast Academical Institution team got off to a flyer in the second half and scored two quick tries through Rory Campbell and Gareth Lawlor following good periodsof play from the Belfast Inst back division. Gareth converted both tries to put Belfast Inst into a 22-10 lead. Inst then had a succession of injuries in the pack and this seemed to disrupt their patterns of play. Terenure scored a converted try to take the score to 22-17 and bring them back into the game. Terenure threw everything at the Belfast Inst defence and sat on the Inst line for the last ten minutes of the match. However, the Belfast Inst defence was well organised, disciplined and held strong until the final whistle which ensured the Inst team had recorded a well-deserved 22-17 victory against the Terenure College team.

Down High School hosted a very spirited Carrickfergus Grammar School team with recent results by both teams suggesting this would be a reasonably straightforward encounter for the Down High boys.

In the end, it proved to be but the home team made reasonably hard work of their victory with a number of unforced errors and missed chances meaning that it was only in the closing minutes that the winning margin really became convincing. The Down High School team was missing a number of key players and when Carrick made searing breaks with their first couple of plays it looked like the form book may have done them an injustice. With their first real attack Down High took the lead when the ball was moved quickly to the right to create an overlap for Ryan Smith to stroll over from 5 metres to touch down for the first try of the game. Luca Rea added the conversion to leave the score 7-0 in favour of the Down High School team. Down High regained possession from the restart and quickly worked their way deep into the Carrick half. Kelvin Hamilton collected a pass and proceeded to brush off three defenders to score under the posts. Luca Rea converted the try to give Down High a 14-0 lead. The home team failed to capitalize on the early domination and the remainder of the half was a scrappy affair punctuated with numerous stoppages. However, on the stroke of half time Roger Birt brought the game to life when he scored under the posts after a fine individual break. Luca Rea added the extras to leave the half time score 21-0. The second half saw a mini revival by the Carrick team when they produced their best rugby of the match. This was well contained by solid Down High defence and the home team soon regained domination of possession and territory. Unfortunately opportunities were wasted by conceding silly penalties. Poor ball retention meant that it was the 51st minute before the home side increased their lead when Luc Bonnargent scored under the posts following an incisive Jack Calvert break. Luca Rea added the conversion to increase the Down High lead to 28-0. That seemed to deflate the Carrick boys and poor defence allowed Roger Birt to waltz his way through for his second try which, once again, was converted by Luca Rea to take the score to 35-0. There was still time for a final flourish which saw Roger Birt complete his hat trick when he outpaced the Carrick defence to touchdown beneath the posts. Luca Rea was successful with his conversion leaving the final score reading 42-0 in favour of the Down High School team.

Methodist College entertained Campbell College on the pristine Pirrie Park paddock pitch in a most entertaining game played in front of a large crowd of supporters.

The Methody team took control of the game from the very beginning with Mark Gribben, playing in the unaccustomed position of fullback, breaking through a hesitant Campbell College defence to run in for a try from 40 metres out. Rudolph Benade converted the try to give his team a 7-0 lead with only two minutes of the game played. The Methody team enjoyed both territorial and possession advantages for the duration of the first half.

Methody Play Highlights:
[youtube G86H2Hh9-Rw]

Their scrum was dominant with James Harrison and young fifth form prop, Michael Logan, causing the Campbell props all sorts of problems in the set piece exchanges. Just before the interval, the Methody winger, Paddy Colhoun, took advantage of a great break from his outhalf, Ross Edgar. Play Highlights Campbell:Nicky Wells:
[youtube WXMSQBcF-LI]
[youtube Z_COFjRRJVM]Paddy outflanked his opposite number but was caught by great cover defence from the Campbell College team and bundled into touch just as it seemed likely he would score. With the scoreline reading 7-0 to Methodist College at the interval, the first score of the second half was going to prove vital to both teams. Brian Robinson Comments:
[youtube YYmS1otVqQo]The Campbell College team started the second period of play strongly and enjoyed a period of time in the Methody 22m area. However, the home defence was giving nothing away and frustrated a number of Campbell College attacks set up by clever play from Josh Fullerton and Glenn Baillie. The Methody team eventually brought play back into the Campbell College half.James Harrison Tighhead Prop Comments:
[youtube H63-G0RkHZ0]Their pack went through a number of phases before releasing their hard working 2nd Row forward, Mark Campbell. Mark broke through the Campbell College defence to touch down for the second try of the game. Rudolph Benade added the conversion to put the Methody team into a 14-0 lead. The Methodist College team continued to dominate proceedings and James Harrison broke through some attempted tackles, off loaded cleverly to his flanker, David Lee, who was running a great support line. David popped a pass to James Gallagher who added to his growing reputation by running in for a try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Methody lead had increased to 19-0. With last play of the game the Campbell CollegeGuy Cooke Comments:
[youtube XTVAr5SWVWs] team got some reward for their endeavours when Jack Owen went over for a try. Rob Haldane hit the upright with his conversion attempt to leave the Methodist College team as deserved 19-5 winners.

Royal School, Armagh continued their great run of results when they travelled to Magherafelt to play a very committed Rainey Endowed School team.

In a hard, physical encounter it was the visitors who opened up a 15-0 lead in the first half with two Daniel Reaney tries as well as one from Darryl Morton. The RS Armagh team continued to dominate proceedings in the second half. Their forwards laid the foundations for Matty Clarke and Michael Hoey to score tries. Alistair Wright added two conversions to see his team safely through to a 29-0 victory. The Rainey team defended well for long periods of the game with Martin Connolly, Thomas Booth and Jonathan Lees getting through a lot of work. For the RS Armagh team, Michael Hoey, Mattie Clarke and Thomas Johnston impressed with their performances as did their two debutant players, James Irvine and John McDonagh.
Flooding of the Campsie playing fields in Omagh forced the Omagh Academy team to travel to Londonderry in order to fulfil their fixture with the Foyle and Londonderry College team. There was no score in the first half with both defences coming out on top and denying the opposition any try scoring chances. The second half saw the Foyle and Londonderry College team obtain more quality possession of the ball. This paved the way for tries from Steven Chi and Calvin Jones. Neil Burns added two conversions to see his team into a 14-0 lead going into the final quarter of the game. The Omagh team worked hard to take the game into the Foyle 22m area but met stubborn resistance from the home defence. In injury time the Foyle team thought they had scored their third try of the game only to have the try disallowed by the referee for a knock on. The game finished with the Foyle and Londonderry College team having recorded a 14-0 win.

Portora Royal School hosted their Connacht near neighbours from Sligo Grammar School in a game that did not start on schedule due to the late arrival of the Sligo Grammar School team.

The big Sligo pack seemed to cause problems for the Portora RS team in the opening exchanges. The Portora team worked hard to handle the opposition and eventually broke out of their 22m area. The home team got some good possession and proceeded to create an overlap which Jonny Magwood took advantage off to run in for a converted try to give his team a 7-0 lead. The Sligo team responded positively to this setback and put themselves into positions where they were awarded penalties. Their kicker was successful with two penalty kicks in the lead up to the interval which saw the halftime score read 7-6 in favour of the Portora team. In the early stages of the second half, ill-discipline could have cost the home team dearly but, fortunately for them, the Sligo Grammar School kicker was unsuccessful with a number of penalty opportunities. Going into the final quarter of the game the home team increased their lead when James Ferguson ran in for a try which was converted to put them into a 14-6 lead. The Sligo Grammar School team continued to work hard and got rewarded for their efforts with a converted try. However, it was a case of “too little, too late” for the Men from the West as it was the Portora Royal School team that ended their recent run off heavy defeats with a hard earned 14-13 win.

Banbridge Academy hosted a much improved Royal School, Dungannon team in a game that saw the home team take a 3-0 lead when Aaron Kennedy kicked a penalty after fifteen minutes of the game.

The RS Dungannon responded with a try from Andrew Clingan some ten minutes later. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the visitors had now established a 5-3 lead. Just before the interval the Banbridge team regained the leads with another Aaron Kennedy penalty to see the scoreline read 6-5 to Banbridge Academy at halftime. Playing into the wind in the second half the home team had to defend strongly. They did so in the early stages of the second half but could do little to prevent tries from Peter Cashel, Jack Milligan and Stephen Rogers in the final quarter of the game. These tries ensured a well-deserved 20-6 victory for the RS Dungannon team. Despite this loss, the Banbridge Academy team can be pleased with the performances of their props, Tom Carlisle and Tom Neilly as well as their hard working flanker, David McKeown.

Coleraine Academical Institution hosted Belfast Royal Academy and played them with a team missing a number of regulars due to long term injuries.

The BRA team started strongly and, following a period of sustained pressure, scored the first try of the game when Dougie Coughlan touched down for an unconverted try after thirteen minutes of play. The visitors scored a second unconverted try in the second quarter of the game when Jonny Loughlin ran in past a hesitant Coleraine AI defence to give his team a 10-0 lead. Two minutes later Eric Linden scored a converted try for the visitors to see them into a 17-0 halftime lead. Early in the second half the Belfast Royal Academy lead was extended to 24-0 when Richard Hogg scored a try which was converted. The Coleraine AI team took advantage of a loose BRA pass which Mikey Poskitt picked up in his own half. He outpaced the chasing BRA defence to score a try under the posts. Mikey converted his try to reduce the arrears to 24-7. However, despite sustained Coleraine AI effort, it was the Belfast Royal Academy team that had the final say in the game when David Patterson scored an unconverted try to ensure a 29-7 victory for the Belfast Royal Academy team. Peter Kidd impressed with his performance for the home team while David Patterson and Daniel Dass stood out for the visitors in the course of the game.

Portadown College hosted a Dalriada team that has struggled this season to maintain the high standards reached in the last two seasons.

Dalriada started the game strongly and dominated most of the early encounters ensuring that Portadown College found it difficult to gain any quality possession. However, the Portadown team displayed great patience and when the chance came to turn over ball they took their opportunity. Having gain possession, the Portadown team managed to pin Dalriada back into their own 22m area but managed to knock the ball on just when they were about to score. From the resultant scrum Dalriada tried to clear their lines but their clearance kick was charged down by Matthew Trouton who raced through to score a try, much against the run of play. The try was converted by Michael Busby to give his team a 7-0 lead. Dalriada continued to starve the Portadown College pack of any real possession and pressed hard for their opening points. However, strong and well-organised Portadown defence meant that Dalriada never really looked like scoring. The second Portadown try came when they attacked down the blind side following a number of phases which released full back Craig Johnston to score under the posts. Michael Busby converted the try to give his team a 14-0 lead. Dalriada fought back and were rewarded with a try following a driven maul after a line out deep in the Portadown College 22m area. The conversion attempt was missed leaving the Portadown team 14-5 ahead at the interval. Dalriada started the second half well and proceeded to string a number of good phases together. Once again the Portadown defence was well marshalled and held firm. Portadown then came into the game as the Dalriada forwards seemed to tire. Following a series of phases, Portadown managed to stretch the Dalriada defence which created the space for the Portadown College outhalf, Ryan Calvert, to break through and score a try. Michael Busby was successful with his conversion attempt once again, putting his team into a 21-5 lead. Dalriada finished strongly and kicked a penalty to reduce the arrears to 21-8. They then scored a converted try late in the game, taking advantage of some slack Portadown College defence, to reduce the arrears to 21-15. There were no further scores leaving the Portadown College team as 21-15 winners.

Cambridge House played Lurgan College and dominated proceedings for most of the first half.

The Lurgan College defence was well organised in the initial exchanges but eventually the home team made good use of possession and ran in two tries and kicked two penalties as well as a conversion to open up an 18-0 halftime lead . The Lurgan College team performed much better in the second half and provided some quality ball for their backs to use. The Lurgan captain, Aaron Carson led by example and scored a fine but unconverted try to see the scoreline read 18-5 in favour of the home team. Further hard work from players such as Dean Wilson and Cameron Lyness provided the opportunity for the young Lurgan College centre, Mark McIlwaine, to run in for a try. Mark converted the try to reduce the arrears to 18-12. However, the Cambridge House team had the final say in the outcome of the game when they scored a converted try to leave the Ballymena based team as deserved 25-12 winners.

Larne Grammar School seriously upset the form book when they hosted Bangor Grammar School on Saturday.

The Co Down team had built up some impressive results in the course of the season so far while the Larne Grammar School had been struggling for success. However, this was all to change! The first half saw the visitors dominate proceedings opening up a 12-0 halftime lead with two tries as well as one conversion. The Larne Grammar School received some well-deserved advice at their halftime team talk and started the second half strongly. The Larne Grammar School front row of Sam McWhirter, Marc Robinson and Ryan aka “the Machine” McAllister took advantage of good work from their fellow forwards and scored one try each and with one conversion, the home team now had a 17-12 lead. The Bangor Grammar School team laid siege to the Larne Grammar School line in final quarter of the game in an attempt to rescue the situation. However, players such as Calum Patton, who put in a “man of the match” performance, ensured that the line remained intact. At the final whistle it was the Larne Grammar School team that celebrated their long awaited first victory of the season with their well-deserved 17-12 win against the Bangor Grammar School team.

Sullivan Upper and Wallace High School will play their game, which was scheduled for Saturday 3rd December, at Uprichard Park, Bangor on Wednesday 7th December with an evening kick off.

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